Every spring, YISS high school students get the chance to express themselves creatively through writing and performing poetry for the Poetry Slam. First, students compose original pieces of poetry and perform them in class. Each class votes on the top two performances, and out of the final eight to ten students per grade, the 9th and 10th graders choose two finalists each, and the 11th and 12th graders choose three finalists each.
The finals of the 2019 Poetry Slam took place on Monday, March 11. This year, the theme of the slam was “Beyond Me,” which inspired a wide variety of poems that encouraged others not to be self-focused. The pieces talked about understanding parental love, looking to others when life seems too difficult to live, finding an identity beyond race, relying on God’s love, breaking free of “the normal,” and more.
The ten finalists and their pieces were:
Victor K. (11) – “Remember”
Alex B. (9) – “Going Deaf”
Angel V. (10) – “To the Boy I Never Got to Meet”
Ethan K. (10) – “I Know Who I Am”
Boeun Y. (11) – “Out of Waters of Darkness and Fear”
Sophia V. (11) – “Impossible Doors”
Allison P. (12) – “In My Weakness”
Robin R. (12) – “Individuality, Ha!”
Michaela M. (9) – “Yellow Letter”
Jiyu S. (12) – “Status Update”
Before the judges’ results were announced, the students in the audience voted on “Crowd Favorite” through applause and noise, and Michaela M. (9), with the full support of the freshman class, came away as the winner. Shortly afterward, Michaela was named the runner-up as well, and Boeun Y. (11) was declared the winner of the 2019 Poetry Slam. Since the top four finalists were only separated by 1.6 points, for the first time in YISS Poetry Slam history, Angel V. (10) and Jiyu S. (12) were given an Honorable Mention.
To view this year’s Poetry Slam performances, click here.